RUSSIA — Social distancing isn’t enough to keep one woman in the Shelby County community from reaching out and helping others.
“I heard that there was a need for masks, especially in long term care facilities. Now that we are all practicing social distancing, making the masks makes me feel like I’m doing something to help and connect with people during a time when many of us feel helpless,” Connie Monnin said.
Monnin considers herself a very social person, and makes a living painting and hanging wallpaper. With concerns surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak and Gov. Mike DeWine’s stay-at-home order for all Ohioans, she isn’t able to interact with people in her community like she normally does, or visit with her 12 grandchildren. Taking on the task of sewing masks for local hospitals and care facilities is a way that she feels she can remain connected to people in the community, and she’s even gotten her family involved.
“The grandkids help cut the fabric and elastic from a pattern that I made based off of an online tutorial. I get to stop by their homes and visit them through the window and pick up the supplies, then I take them home and sew them,” Monnin said. “I can’t play with them, or hug and kiss them, so it has been a way for me to stay connected with them and it has been inspiring for me to see how they are all finding happiness in helping others.”
Monnin uses tightly woven cotton, cotton fleece and elastic to make the masks, and says that it is her understanding that the masks will be santized by each facility that receives them. Currently, she is donating the masks she makes to Wilson Health in Sidney and Otterbein Retirement Living in St. Marys. She recommends that anyone wanting to sew homemade masks contact local nursing homes and hospitals in their area for more information on what is needed and how to go about delivering masks, and that there are patterns available online.
“With a little practice, anyone with a sewing machine could assemble and make these masks,” Monnin said.
At the end of the day, Monnin sees the homemade masks as a small way she is able to help her community out in a stressful and unpredictable time, and encourages others to find ways to reach out while still keeping themselves and their community safe.
“We can all do something to help while still practicing social distancing. Whether it’s making masks, checking in on family members, donating to those in need, dropping food or groceries off to elderly community members, or praying for our nation — no act, no matter how small, is ever wasted,” Monnin said.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4825.